Finding Peace — Manuscript Post #49
–Sessions: 40 of 53
Monday, January 11, 2010 11:00am
Blood Donation, Apheresis, Number 309
Real life happens while you are in therapy. Therapy isn’t an exercise in theory or concepts, rather an exercise in seeing how you deal with things and helping you understand why you react the way you do. With that understanding you can choose to react differently to future events.
Just before I went to this session, Snap called me, he said “Mother died this morning.” There it was. My mother was dead and I would indeed be traveling to a funeral soon. Snap told me he was calling funeral homes asking about the cost of various funeral options. I wondered how he thought any of those options would get paid.
I told Elsie that my mother had died. I wasn’t surprised that this had happened. I wasn’t shocked. I was concerned about what happened next, but, at least fate had removed some of the uncertainty. I did need to arrange the funeral and handle her personal property.
She asked how I was doing. My symptoms had been better the last two weeks since our previous session. What she said last time had helped me, i.e. that I had been under a lot of stress and that would explain why symptoms had been worse. I had been driving a lot less since then as well and I think that had also reduced my symptoms.
I told her that my guitar lesson yesterday was good. Music is good therapy and the whole process of learning to play had been good for me. I had to constantly remind myself that the guitar and the lessons were for my amusement. I didn’t have to make the instructor happy, I only had to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to.
Before our next session I would travel to attend my mother’s funeral. When I started therapy, I couldn’t have known that my mother would die while I was in therapy. The death of a parent is a major life event. It helped me, as I was going through this event, to know that I was already working with someone that could help with whatever issues came up. I knew that if my symptoms started to worry me, or if I needed to talk about things, I could always call Elsie. It turned out that I never felt the need to call but I think it was a big help to know that I always could have.
My mother’s death had set in motion many things. Once I had been told that my mother had died, I had to decide whether I would inform Pop or not. It had become very clear that he was not on speaking terms with Snap or Crackle. I was confident that neither of them was going to tell him. I thought about this very carefully. I wanted to make a very conscious decision. When I had talked to Pop about our mother’s condition during my previous visit he had told me he “thought it was best for everyone that he not be involved.” I could have assumed that this statement meant he didn’t want to know when our mother died.
On the other hand, I wondered if I was being manipulated. If I didn’t tell him, he could always claim that he hadn’t been allowed to participate. This would allow him to avoid dealing with all the logistical and financial issues that were coming up. I decided that I was going to continue what I had done so far. I would tell everyone everything. I couldn’t control their reactions, I could only control my actions.
I decided to email Pop to tell him. He replied that he wanted to help. Since I had thought carefully about how I might be manipulated, I decided to make sure I didn’t allow anyone to say I had not permitted them to participate. I replied asking him specifically how he wanted to help.
In his reply, he specifically offered to help Snap, and then he started backing away from this offer. He told me that he might have to back away from helping due to his conflicts with Snap and Crackle, because if he were to help, these conflicts could cause upset. This put me in the middle. Was I supposed to decide if his helping would cause upset and therefore I was responsible for his helping or not?
I realized that this forced me to be the only person communicating between Pop and our sibilngs. I didn’t want this role and this was a manipulation. Pop was offering to help, but his offer had to go through me, making me responsible. If he was really concerned about the conflicts with our siblings, he could have decided how he wanted to help that would not have required any conflict. He could have decided what he wanted to do to help and just offered that help. He could have contact our siblings offering to help and offering his contact information so they could contact him directly. Since he had not been in contact with our siblings, I was confident he didn’t have their current email addresses and vice versa.
I decided to not allow myself to be manipulated, to remove myself from the middle. I emailed all my siblings, including all their email addresses and requesting that any offers to help be made directly, not through me.
I don’t know what was emailed between them. Pop emailed me to tell me that after offering to help, Snap had responded with obscenities and threats of violence and Crackle didn’t respond at all. My reply to Pop was “I wish I could offer you something rational.” Whatever the conflicts were between my siblings, it wasn’t my issue. I had not created their conflicts. I refused to be put in the middle, between them, as they refused to communicate with each other. I had decided what to do and I did it. All of my siblings had been notified of our mother’s death. They all knew how to contact each other and none of them could claim that I had controlled the interactions between them.
Before I could travel to the funeral, I had to organize it.
When my mother lost her apartment, due to her being in the hospital and nursing home, I had to move quickly to have her furniture and personal items moved out. There wasn’t time for lots of debate or drama. Planning a funeral was much the same. Someone had to do something in a short time. The reality was that my mother’s body was being stored and that couldn’t go on forever. And each day this went on was costing money.